Full bill but not of health

By SpencerRoush

College debt is like bubblegum stuck to the bottom of a graduate’s shoe, and every time it sticks to the floor, it’s impossible to ignore. It takes time and effort for the gum to be scraped off, similar to the extended process of paying for higher education. There’s a constant financial reminder and burden attached to the diploma that takes years of income to finally settle.

When students are reminded of this pesky gum, or debt, it would be satisfying to know some of their money was used solely for the students’ benefit and not just to implement the college’s marketing plan. But ultimately, anything in students’ best interest is also something Columbia can use as a recruiting or marketing tool.

Columbia President Warrick L. Carter wrote an open letter stating tuition would increase for the undergraduate and graduate program in the 2011—2012 academic year.

Using this semester’s undergraduate enrollment figure, which admittedly doesn’t entirely represent next year’s student body, the college would bring in an additional $10.88 million from the undergraduate’s tuition increase alone.

To offset this increase, the letter also said students wouldn’t pay more for Mandatory Columbia Student Fees or Instructional Resources Fees. This is where students wouldn’t mind paying more.

There have been ongoing student requests for years to resolve issues surrounding Columbia’s Health Center.

Right now, student’s pay $40 to use the center. This is a minuscule fee for unlimited visits, but the assistance students receive is just as insignificant. The center isn’t well funded and therefore offers mediocre services. There have been ongoing student complaints about the center keeping poor cleaning habits and giving inadequate medical advice.

The center also offers limited care to patients, sending many students elsewhere for treatment, including those looking for an annual female checkup.

Having a gynecologist on campus is something every college should have, and it would encourage students to attend an institution willing to offer such services.

It’s sad that students pay more to use Oasis’ class registering services for a total fee of $10–$50 less than health care fees. Columbia’s health center may also be the only form of care they can receive if they don’t have insurance.

Because the college is about to receive a major influx of tuition dollars, the administration can make the right choice to add more treatment options at the health center and also ensure its professionalism. A small portion of the tuition increase could funnel into the center’s budget to revamp its offices and health offerings.

This would please students, keep them healthier and begin to justify paying more next year.